How To Get Rid Of Blackheads

It's confusing enough figuring out exactly why your skin is breaking out, but add in the occasional blackhead here and there and it's a whole other story. Different to the typical whitehead you find with acne on the skin, blackheads are caused by pores that are clogged with sebum, as dermatologist Deanne Mraz Robinson, M.D., tells Glamour. As dead skin cells and oils collect in these pores, they oxidize and present as a blackhead.

Depending on your skin type, and even genetic makeup, you can either be predisposed to blackheads or be one of the lucky few who doesn't experience them at all. When they do arise, it's a bit of a mystery as to how exactly to get rid of them. While the temptation is to immediately push that sucker out, it's actually one of the worst ways to remove a blackhead — especially if it's deep in the pore.

Luckily, there are dozens of solutions out there for every skin type. While you can't exactly prevent blackheads from cropping up, you can deal with them in a way that won't damage your skin.

Salicylic acid is a key ingredient for removing blackheads, according to experts

Getting rid of blackheads is mainly down to a solid skin routine that suits your needs. The first step is figuring out exactly what kind of skin type you're dealing with, according to CeraVe, and then shaping your skin routine around that as well as focusing on the elimination of blackheads. When it comes to targeting blackheads specifically, though, you need to look out for certain ingredients that will help dissolve, pull, and remove the sebum, dead skin cells, and oils from your pores. 

As with any skin routine, cleansing is the first step. Glamour recommends washing your face with a gentle cleanser as well as making sure you exfoliate regularly — preferably with a product that has acidic ingredients. According to dermatologist Deanne Mraz Robinson, salicylic acid is one of the best ingredients as it can dissolve the sebum that's clogging the pore.

However, make sure you don't exfoliate more than your skin can handle. According to dermatologist Shari Marchbein, those with oily and combination skin types should exfoliate three times a week while people with sensitive skin should stick with just the once (via Allure).

Don't attempt to remove stubborn blackheads – leave it to the professionals

Outside of your usual routine, you can also opt for pore strips to remove pesky blackheads in areas of the face like your T-zone. The occasional face steaming session can also help, according to celebrity aesthetician Renée Rouleau, who suggested to Glamour that you apply a thick layer of moisturizer before a session. You should also cover the affected area with plastic wrap along with two hot washcloths layered on top of each other to retain the heat. This will help create a seamless extraction, according to Rouleau.

If you find that your blackheads are too deep, don't attempt to remove them yourself. While your fingers or an extraction tool may seem like the go-to in these situations, dermatologist Ife Rodney, M.D., stressed to Good Housekeeping that you should book an appointment with a dermatologist or aesthetician to "safety extract" whatever is trapped in your pores. The less damage to your skin, the better.